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The Martha Gilmore Parfet Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3505

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of one Holy Bible belonging to William and Carrie Sherwood Gilmore Upjohn and two Cottage Bibles belonging to Maria and Cyrus Sherwood.

The Cottage Bible was first printed in London in 1825-27 and was reprinted many times. Rev. William Patton (1798-1879) added extensive notes and edited the American edition, where it was first published in 1833-34. The Bible was primarily designed for home use, and a home Bible study today is still sometimes called a “Cottage Bible Study.” The notes were designed for teachers of Bible classes and Sabbath schools who were not able to afford the more expensive Matthew Henry or Thomas Scott versions.

The Cottage Bible Volume 1 of the collection was printed in 1861 and Volume 2 was printed in 1862. Volume 2 includes pages for marriages, deaths and births. The Sherwood family recorded their family’s information for a few family members. Both bibles belonged to Cyrus G. and Maria C. Sherwood. The invitation included with Volume 2 was for the “Service of Installation of the Rev. Walter B. Dickinson as Pastor” at the First Congregational Church. The other handwritten note included with the bible is a family description by Loyal Williams, describing his relation to the Gilmores. In his note he explains that his grandfather, Oreb A. Williams, “…was the brother of the Gilmore boys’ mother’s mother,” (their great uncle).

The Holy Bible published by Thomas Nelson & Sons, New York, 1901, belonged to William E. Upjohn and Carrie C. Upjohn. This is inscribed on the inside cover in gold lettering. “March 18th, 1917” is also included, but the significance of the date is unknown.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1909, 1957


Conditions Governing Use

Great care needs to be taken when handling these items in the collection. They are very fragile.

William E. Upjohn

William E. Upjohn (1853-1932) was a graduate of the University of Michigan in 1875 and became a Physician. He was an inventor and the founder of the Upjohn Pill and Granule Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Carrie Sherwood Gilmore Upjohn

Carrie Sherwood Gilmore Upjohn (1866-1953) married James Gilmore (1857-1953) in 1886. After James’ death, Carrie married W.E. Upjohn on October 25, 1913. Cyrus G. Sherwood (1825-1877) and Maria Williams Sherwood (1830-1911) were Carrie’s parents.


2 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection consists of .75 cubic feet with one Hollinger box (Box 1) and one half-Hollinger box (Box 2). The bibles are held in archival containers specially made from the Rare Book Room of Western Michigan University’s libraries and then placed in their assigned Hollinger boxes. The Cottage Bibles Volume 1 and Volume 2 measure 10 ¾ in x 7in x 2.5 in. The pages are in good condition but the outer covers are falling apart. The covers are made of hard material with a raised artistic detail surrounding “C.G. and M. C. Sherwood.” The family information included in Volume 2 is handwritten in ink and there is little fading of the ink.

There is an invitation included with Volume 2 dated November 16, 1909. There is also a handwritten letter from Loyal Williams dated March 4, 1957. These are both in good condition. The invitation has very little wear.

The Holy Bible measures 8 ¾ in x 6 in x 1 ¾ in. The pages are in good condition, but the leather cover is also falling apart.


The three bibles were a gift from Martha Gilmore Parfet.

The Martha Gilmore Parfet Collection Finding Aid
Samantha Beland
1909, 1957
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490